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Reivew Of The Book, "How To Talk To A Liberal"

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It's conservative crap. Basically there will be three or four rational statements that only make the rest of it worse because it brings some validity to an absolutely abhorrant argumentative strategy/content.

See: "The Anatomy of Compromise" (Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal)

Try not to let the fact that liberals are so disgusting get you to the point of being able to like/agree with/tolerate a conservative. They are the ones that should have stood for capitalism and freedom (that which they should have "conserved") and didn't. They are your Gail Wynands. Liberals are mere Keatings. Conservatives are a "could have been." Liberals are a "never could be."

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I've read and enjoyed it.

It's mostly a rehash of old columns, but it's devilishly fun and effective as a teardown of liberalism, and many of the points she makes early in the book about not giving an inch or trying to play nice when speaking with a liberal are valid regardless of your view.

Where Coulter is supporting conservatism, she's assuming you already agree with her. It gets thick on dogma and weak on construction, and you may find yourself detachedly watching her patting herself on the back for a time.

At one point she writes about trying to become a libertarian candidate to defeat a politician she doesn't like, but instead decides to tear apart the local libertarian party once she learns what it's all about. The party seems more interested in pot for everyone than in removing the systems that will have the taxpayers supporting them once they've all addled themselves with drugs. Her column rips them apart for this and other inconsistencies. This column alone made the book for me -- I hadn't laughed so hard in some time.

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At one point [Ann Coulter] writes about trying to become a libertarian candidate to defeat a politician she doesn't like, but instead decides to tear apart the local libertarian party once she learns what it's all about. [...] This column alone made the book for me -- I hadn't laughed so hard in some time.

I think Coulter is one of the best and most insightful stand-up comics ever -- even when she is sitting down. :D

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Non-contradictor: my analogy goes like this :D :

Conservatives: Jim Taggert and Orren Boyle in practice, Mr. Mowen in philosophy.

Liberals : Bertram Scudder in practice, Simon Pritchett in philosophy

Libertarians:Cherryl Taggart (they have some decent ideas, but they have them for the wrong reasons)

As for Ann Coulter, she is a witty and insightful writer, but she's in the pocket of the Republican party. You know the type, that if George Bush assumed the title of Dictator-for-life she would be all for it and go to great lengths defending him. Take it with a pinch of salt

The Republicans seem to have developed a team mentality. "Lets rally and defeat the evil Liberals!" kind of thing. To a hardcore republican, anyone that doesn't agree with them is a Liberal and worthy of nothing but contempt. Their team morality also means that they go with the flow of the party, at the moment it means an extreme theistic metaphysical bend, and expell most of their energy defending the actions of other conservatives rather than try to make any philosophical sense. For example, a liberal hates the term liberal and hates to be called that. Most republicans love the term conservative, and even go to lengths referring to themselves as "ultra right-wing conservatives." Republicans are generally more receptive to wealthy white males, so I am safe as long as they hold power, compared to democrats, where wealthy white males are the root of all the problems.

so yeah, I don't hold republicans in very high regard. I go to a school where I am surrounded by them, and trust me, they can be as vicious towards objectivism as any leftist. Any republican that I have met who has heard of Ayn Rand agree that she was a heartless, hateful bitch.

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so yeah, I don't hold republicans in very high regard. I go to a school where I am surrounded by them, and trust me, they can be as vicious towards objectivism as any leftist. Any republican that I have met who has heard of Ayn Rand agree that she was a heartless, hateful bitch.

I disagree. Many conservatives that I have met like Rand, those that have heard of her. They usually disagree on one or two points (mainly god), but are one the whole rather rational, or more so than liberals. They do distort those ideas to support things like minimum welfare, etc. On the other hand, alot of liberals, such as my dad, are environmentalists, welfare and mixed economy perpetrators, etc. So where conservatives believe in god, liberals believe in a "common good", personally I think the common good is much worse than god. I do understand that your personal experience may be radically different than mine, but I just figured I'd give my opinion.

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Most republicans love the term conservative, and even go to lengths referring to themselves as "ultra right-wing conservatives."

My experience differs substantially from yours. Except in jest, I've never heard a voting age conservative attach that kind of emphasis. It sounds more like a kid trying on an extreme label for fun or identity experimentation.

Then again, I live in Illinois.

Any republican that I have met who has heard of Ayn Rand agree that she was a heartless, hateful bitch.

180 degrees opposite experience here as well. Every Ayn Rand reader I've met away from the internet has been a conservative.

Did you know that Rush Limbaugh has suggested her books from time to time? And which party appointed a contributor to Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal as chairman of the federal reserve?

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I agree with your assertion that Liberals are pro-common good and Republicans are pro-God, but in a way, being pro-God is being pro-common good, because upon reading the bible, there are many examples of God professing communistic and collectivistic themes. I have read the bible cover to cover (used to be religious, plus I find mythology interesting) and throughout the entire book there are ideas like "it is Godly to forgive all of your debts" and "the only way for rich people to get into heaven is to sell all their stuff and give all of their money to the poor." No wonder the tribes of Israel never got very wealthy, because it was required by law that every 7 years all debt was dropped. Jesus was never any better, as the story of the prodical son is a story where the irresponsible son who squanders his wealth is praised but the son who worked hard for his wealth is ignored.

the thing about liberals is that they tend to be more wishy-washy than Republicans, you know the type, the "eating any meat is immoral" or the "making profit at the expense of others" types. They are more of an annoyance than republicans, which makes them natural enemies of mostly anyone who doesn't agree with them.

On the other hand, something I hate about many republicans is their blind hatred of things they don't agree with. I'm thinking Gay's rights here. A discussion with your average conservative about Gays usually goes like this: "I hate Gays, they all need to die."

"why?"

"because they are faggots!"

but in terms of receptiveness, I have found that of all the political groups, and Libertarians are the most receptive to Ayn Rand, because most are pro-free market and apreciate Rand's essays on the moral defense of Capitalism. Not all Libertarians are like this, especially the self-proclaimed "small l" libertarians (who are one step away from being Liberals anyway) are the ones that give the party the bad name, because they are all about smoking weed and bashing purists (like Objectivists) but for the most part most Libertarians I have met has at least claimed a slight admiration for Rand.

This all comes from personal experience, because any attempts on my part to spread Rand's philosophy are met with scorn from both the right and the left, but Gary Nolan (the LP candidate for president) heaped praises on me when I told him I was an Objectivist, and told me of his admiration for her.

I understand a lot of Objectivists do not like Libertarians, and I respect that. I have not anchored myself to the Libertarian party by any means, but I have at least found a group of people whose sociopolitical opinions are similar to mine. the rest of their philosophical education comes next :D

I do understand that your personal experience may be radically different than mine, but I just figured I'd give my opinion.

and trust me, it's greatly apreciated.

oh, I live in South Carolina, deep in Bush country. In a Corps of 1900 cadets, the LP groups has more members than the democrat group. I must be one of those rare people who are surrounded by more conservatives than liberals, so my views might be a bit different (as most of my philosophical battles are not against leftists, but against right-wingers.) But my own experience still stands though, Religious folk hate Rand for being an Athiest, and can't believe that I don't believe in God, then try to persuade me to God with Pragmatism or some other BS that I usually tune out.

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I agree with your assertion that Liberals are pro-common good and Republicans are pro-God, but in a way, being pro-God is being pro-common good, because upon reading the bible, there are many examples of God professing communistic and collectivistic themes. I have read the bible cover to cover (used to be religious, plus I find mythology interesting) and throughout the entire book there are ideas like "it is Godly to forgive all of your debts" and "the only way for rich people to get into heaven is to sell all their stuff and give all of their money to the poor." No wonder the tribes of Israel never got very wealthy, because it was required by law that every 7 years all debt was dropped. Jesus was never any better, as the story of the prodical son is a story where the irresponsible son who squanders his wealth is praised but the son who worked hard for his wealth is ignored.

Yeah, I asked that in another thread, but didn't really get a response. Why is it that conservatives are generally less welfare/socialistic and more capitalistic? It seems like the bible says almost the opposite. The only thing I can think of is they find that more rights are being violated by paying more, and they probably have faith that people will sacrifice themselves for the common good. One thing that has always bothered me is the amount of hypocracy in the church. They are forever saying that one should do stuff for the common good and sacrifice yourself for other, but many "holy" people are/have been extremely wealthy.

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so yeah, I don't hold republicans in very high regard. I go to a school where I am surrounded by them, and trust me, they can be as vicious towards objectivism as any leftist. Any republican that I have met who has heard of Ayn Rand agree that she was a heartless, hateful bitch.

I know a lady that gives away copies of two books to all her friends: How to Talk to a Liberal and Atlas Shrugged. While it is an injustice to Objectivism to be presented with conservative material it does say something about how Objectivism is perceived by conservatives.

I just finished re-reading Atlas shrugged and I don’t remember many references to god. I’m not sure how much Atlas Shrugged would really offend any conservative that didn’t make the connection that the supremacy of reasons means the rejection of religion. I’ve noted the analogies some people have made to the characters in Atlas Shrugged but personally I would have labeled them all as liberals – which I think is why the left doesn’t have to think very hard to recognize Objectivism as an opposite philosophy. Perhaps I am missing something though?

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I know a lady that gives away copies of two books to all her friends: How to Talk to a Liberal and Atlas Shrugged.  While it is an injustice to Objectivism to be presented with conservative material it does say something about how Objectivism is perceived by conservatives.

I just finished re-reading Atlas shrugged and I don’t remember many references to god.  I’m not sure how much Atlas Shrugged would really offend any conservative that didn’t make the connection that the supremacy of reasons means the rejection of religion.  I’ve noted the analogies some people have made to the characters in Atlas Shrugged but personally I would have labeled them all as liberals – which I think is why the left doesn’t have to think very hard to recognize Objectivism as an opposite philosophy.  Perhaps I am missing something though?

I dunno, my mom and her co-workers believe in god, but they love Atlas Shrugged. As my mom put it, she doesn't "blame Rand for not believing in god, she just wasn't quite able to get her mind around the concept because of her childhood." I was like, uh you're missing something.

Another person I have talked to is a pastor! He loves Rand except for the concept of god. I don't see how someone can refuse to think on one or two levels, and be rational on others, but that's them speaking, not me.

Anyway, I don't understand it anymore than you do, but it seems to me that conservatives (the ones I've met anyway) think Rand is cool, except for the god thing.

BTW, I wouldn't exactly label the characters of Atlas Shrugged as liberals, I would simply say they were rational.

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BTW, I wouldn't exactly label the characters of Atlas Shrugged as liberals, I would simply say they were rational.

You mean the villains in Atlas Shrugged are all irrational* and the heroes are rational to the extreme. The heroes are neither liberals nor conservatives - in fact they are Objectivists. :) The villains I think are all more liberal than conservative, more left then right, more worshiping of the collective than of god.

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I believe conservatives are more apt to accepting Rand and O'ism because they think they are "capitalists" to begin with. I've met several conservatives (mostly secular, non-religous ones) that say Ayn Rand had influence in their lives; never met a liberal to say that. I was a libertarian leaning conservative when I picked up C:UI, and the essay "Conservatism: An Obituary" changed my life. I was always this "free-market conservative" person, but never had the philosophy to lean on before I read that essay. It totally changed my life.

I joke that conservatives that love Ayn Rand always evaded and flipped past that one essay :D

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I've met several conservatives (mostly secular, non-religous ones) that say Ayn Rand had influence in their lives; never met a liberal to say that.
Actually, this one baffles me. If you Google about, you'll find numerous mentions of Hillary Clinton as a big Ayn Rand fan. Does anyone know if this is a joke that got out of hand and started being reported as fact? Or is this another feminist pointing at Rand merely because she's an accomplished female?

This is the same Hillary Clinton who says:

"We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society."

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Actually, this one baffles me. If you Google about, you'll find numerous mentions of Hillary Clinton as a big Ayn Rand fan. Does anyone know if this is a joke that got out of hand and started being reported as fact? Or is this another feminist pointing at Rand merely because she's an accomplished female?

This is the same Hillary Clinton who says:

"We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society."

Hillary was also a Goldwater supporter in 1964.

People often glom onto ideas in their youth that they later reject.

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Anyway, I don't understand it anymore than you do, but it seems to me that conservatives (the ones I've met anyway) think Rand is cool, except for the god thing.

Not the ones I have met. They love the "pro-business" inference they draw from Atlas Shrugged.

They don't like the atheism they see. And when they hear about the rest of what capitalism means -- pro-choice on abortion, abolition of drug laws for adults, total separation of Church and State, abolition of all welfare, and others -- they become more upset.

On one conservative forum, I suggested abolishing anti-trust legislation. I was called "insane." Whenever I mention abolishing public education as the solution to the fights over God in the schools, they become sullen.

Conservatives, in general, are theocratic statists -- but not totalitarians.

Invariably, when I have seen Objectivists "get along" with conservatives, it is only because the Objectivists didn't push the conservatives to be consistent and held back their own, more threatening Objectivist views.

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Not the [conservatives] I have met. They love the "pro-business" inference they draw from Atlas Shrugged.

They don't like the atheism they see. And when they hear about the rest of what capitalism means -- pro-choice on abortion, abolition of drug laws for adults, total separation of Church and State, abolition of all welfare, and others -- they become more upset.

On one conservative forum, I suggested abolishing anti-trust legislation. I was called "insane." Whenever I mention abolishing public education as the solution to the fights over God in the schools, they become sullen.

That sounds like the "Mr. Mowen" Old Right, but not like the New Right that varies from there to take in the very religious (Ann Coulter, Dennis Prager), the somewhat religious (Rush Limbaugh, George W. Bush), and the "social liberals" (Rudy Guiliani, Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Conservatives, in general, are theocratic statists -- but not totalitarians.
SOME are. I wouldn't call any of the ones I mentioned -- even the most religious -- "theocratic" in the sense that Iran or even Puritan Massachusetts were "theocratic." At worst, the worst of them would advocate something like Mormon Utah. None of them are "statists."

Invariably, when I have seen Objectivists "get along" with conservatives, it is only because the Objectivists didn't push the conservatives to be consistent and held back their own, more threatening Objectivist views.

I get along fine with conservatives -- even religious ones -- and I have even "converted" a goodly number to Objectivism. The secret of my success is that I judge them as individuals and I choose to deal only with those conservatives who are Good Objectivist Material. If someone is G.O.M. he is realistic and commonsensical in daily life and an intense valuer.

Forty years ago all the G.O.M. were Old Left liberals, including me. Now they are all conservatives. I haven't "converted" a liberal for decades.

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That sounds like the "Mr. Mowen" Old Right, but not like the New Right that varies from there to take in the very religious (Ann Coulter, Dennis Prager), the somewhat religious (Rush Limbaugh, George W. Bush), and the "social liberals" (Rudy Guiliani, Arnold Schwarzenegger)

[...]

SOME are.  I wouldn't call any of the ones I mentioned -- even the most religious -- "theocratic" in the sense that Iran or even Puritan Massachusetts were "theocratic."  At worst, the worst of them would advocate something like Mormon Utah.  None of them are "statists."

[...]

I get along fine with conservatives -- even religious ones -- and I have even "converted" a goodly number to Objectivism.  The secret of my success is that I judge them as individuals and I choose to deal only with those conservatives who are Good Objectivist Material.  If someone is G.O.M. he is realistic and commonsensical in daily life and an intense valuer.

[...]

Forty years ago all the G.O.M. were Old Left liberals, including me.  Now they are all conservatives.  I haven't "converted" a liberal for decades.

I am puzzled by our radically different experiences in dealing with conservatives. Here are some questions that might get us closer to resolution:

(1) Are you saying that the so-called New Right -- whose essential distinguishing nature is unclear to me -- advocates abolition of public education? Can you name some examples?

(2) You say none of the conservatives you mentioned, even the most religious, are theocratic in the sense that Iran is a theocracy. Perhaps, but "theocracy" -- in terms of essentials -- means a government (supposedly) guided by God, as implemented by his minions on earth, in one form or another. The degree of oppression may vary from theocracy to theocracy, but the underlying principle remains the same: appeal to God (and "His Word") as the guide. In that sense, all religious conservatives are theocrats. Their religion guides them in wanting to force abortion off the market, ban street drugs, outlaw prostitution, restrict alcohol consumption, and suppress a free market in loans. That is theocracy.

(3) By statist, I mean one who believes that the state is superior to individual rights in one or more areas. The number of areas is nonessential. The principle of sacrificing individual rights is the essential. Every conservative I have met or heard of in the media advocates oppression in some area or another. In that sense they are statists. They vary widely in the degree of oppression they advocate, but not in the principle that the state is above individual rights. They certainly are not advocates of laissez-faire.

(4) What does a "goodly number" mean? What order of magnitude are you thinking of? Tens? Hundreds? Thousands of "converts"?

(5) How old are these converts, typically? I do not consider anyone under 30 to be a convert. The reason is that younger people are not fully committed intellectually and in terms of actually structuring their lives around their beliefs. Only after someone has committed to a philosophy and structured his life around it and then changed radically could he be considered a "convert."

(6) Your observation about the pool of "converts" is perceptive. That they come from conservative roots shows that conservatives are the up and coming force in our society and the Left is dying away, as the knights died in the Middle Ages and the merchants took precedence.

How else would you characterize your converts, besides by age? Rural, suburban, or urban? Poor, middle class, or rich? Anglo culture, Hispanic culture, or other culture as a background?

Might your experiences and mine be affected by the different areas in which we live? I live in a liberal-leftist area -- although with a stream of pioneer conservativism mixed in: recognition of the right to request physician's assistance in suicide in certain circumstances (very leftist) and fairly easy access to a permit to carry a gun (very conservative, usually).

This issue has puzzled me for a long time. I look forward to discussing it further.

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Actually, this one baffles me. If you Google about, you'll find numerous mentions of Hillary Clinton as a big Ayn Rand fan. Does anyone know if this is a joke that got out of hand and started being reported as fact? Or is this another feminist pointing at Rand merely because she's an accomplished female?

This is the same Hillary Clinton who says:

"We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society."

I dont know. If Hillary Clinton ever read Ayn Rand she'd probably have a coronary.

The conservatives that I've met have been part of my activist group, ProtestWarrior and also a guy at my workplace. They are all secular, non-religous conservatives, which I guess would be a libertarian leaning conservative.

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(1) Are you saying that the so-called New Right -- whose essential distinguishing nature is unclear to me -- advocates abolition of public education? Can you name some examples?

Some in the New Right do and most favor steps in the direction of privatization such as vouchers and tax credits for education.

(2) You say none of the conservatives you mentioned, even the most religious, are theocratic in the sense that Iran is a theocracy. Perhaps, but "theocracy" -- in terms of essentials -- means a government (supposedly) guided by God, as implemented by his minions on earth, in one form or another. The degree of oppression may vary from theocracy to theocracy, but the underlying principle remains the same: appeal to God (and "His Word") as the guide. In that sense, all religious conservatives are theocrats. Their religion guides them in wanting to force abortion off the market, ban street drugs, outlaw prostitution, restrict alcohol consumption, and suppress a free market in loans. That is theocracy.
That strikes me as a non-essential definition. The USA bans prostitution and gambling in almost all states, has always had "In God We Trust" on our money, and up until recently banned abortion in all states, had "blue laws" banning Sunday commercial activity in many states, had the prohibition of alcohol once written into the Constitution, etc. -- all based on religion. By your definition, the USA has always been a "theocracy."

Generally "theocracy" means a government run by religious officials in accordance with religious law -- not merely a government that has some laws inspired by religion.

(3) By statist, I mean one who believes that the state is superior to individual rights in one or more areas. The number of areas is nonessential. The principle of sacrificing individual rights is the essential. Every conservative I have met or heard of in the media advocates oppression in some area or another. In that sense they are statists. They vary widely in the degree of oppression they advocate, but not in the principle that the state is above individual rights. They certainly are not advocates of laissez-faire.

By that definition, the American Founding Fathers were all "statists" because they advocated or allowed for some things (slavery, tariffs, govt coinage of money, the post office) that involve state violations of individual rights. A better definition of a "statist" is someone who holds that rights are privileges defined and granted by the state.

(4) What does a "goodly number" mean? What order of magnitude are you thinking of? Tens? Hundreds? Thousands of "converts"?
A couple of dozen. Since I am not a public personality, my influence is limited to people I meet face to face in ordinary work and social situations and, more recently, on the internet.

(5) How old are these converts, typically? I do not consider anyone under 30 to be a convert. The reason is that younger people are not fully committed intellectually and in terms of actually structuring their lives around their beliefs. Only after someone has committed to a philosophy and structured his life around it and then changed radically could he be considered a "convert."

Most are under thirty but a handful were older.

Actually, I don't really "convert" people although someone giving up socialism or Catholicism for Objectivism may seem like a dramatic conversion. By the time someone is in his teens, his attitude toward reality and values is pretty much set for life and there's nothing I or Ayn Rand can do to change that. What I do is introduce them to Ayn Rand and their own reality-grounded, value orientation does the rest.

(6) Your observation about the pool of "converts" is perceptive. That they come from conservative roots shows that conservatives are the up and coming force in our society and the Left is dying away, as the knights died in the Middle Ages and the merchants took precedence.
I think it is because the nihilism and the irrationality of the New Left has driven the reality-grounded valuers into the conservative camp.

How else would you characterize your converts, besides by age? Rural, suburban, or urban? Poor, middle class, or rich? Anglo culture, Hispanic culture, or other culture as a background?

All of the above. I have met G.O.M. at work, at my son's schools, in political activities, at family gatherings, through mutual friends, on plane trips, among people I trade with, and on the net. Loyalty to reality and values is something that people anywhere and everywhere can choose and have chosen.

Might your experiences and mine be affected by the different areas in which we live? I live in a liberal-leftist area -- although with a stream of pioneer conservativism mixed in: recognition of the right to request physician's assistance in suicide in certain circumstances (very leftist) and fairly easy access to a permit to carry a gun (very conservative, usually).

It's not WHERE, it's WHAT. Look for people who are successful at what they do, commonsensical in everyday life, who LOVE their work, their families, their partners, their children, etc. and have a "favorite everything." Talk about your values, books, movies, and what they mean to you and watch their faces light up and observe how they gravitate toward you. Raise the banner of reality and values and the wise and honest will repair to it.

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